Paul M. Helfrich

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American Creed

American CreedBook and Lyrics by Joanne Helfrich, Music by Paul Helfrich

The American Creed traces its roots to the Greeks, who founded the first democratic government over 2,500 years ago. It has been influenced by European, Native American, and other cultures. It was further refined during the creation of the United States, which in 1776 declared its independence from British monarchy.

The American Creed affirms that we are each endowed by our Creator with certain unalienable rights—among them life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—regardless of gender, ethnicity, religion, or economic status. It directs our government to be of the people, by the people, and for the people, and calls on each of us to ensure liberty and justice for all.

America’s fidelity to this creed is judged by history. Living up to it remains a constant challenge. But it invests our nation with spiritual purpose and—if we honor its precepts—a moral destiny.” – Forrest Church, author of The American Creed

The dialog for this performance was recorded over Zoom by the Westside Waldorf School’s 8th grade between May 28-June 11, 2020, during its school closure for the coronavirus pandemic. Psalm 100 was also recorded by the students, but Zoom posed a challenge for the other songs, so included are tracks by other artists and rehearsal tracks by Joanne and Paul Helfrich. Enjoy the show!

List of Characters, in order of appearance (download the program!):

“Doctor” George Devine, the owner of the traveling show
Scout Steadfast, a well-travelled storyteller
Medicine Mary, a healer and storyteller
Liberty Belle, an actress
Magic Annie, a fortuneteller
Reverend Rightly, a preacher
Calamity Cate, a cowgirl performer
Lord Lee, a hypnotist
Polly Pureheart, an actress
Scallywag Sam, a cowboy performer
Nellie Devine, George’s wife and singer
Daisy Devine, George and Nellie’s daughter, a dancer

Somewhere in the USA heartland, Friday evening September 1, 1939…

ACT 1 – Total run time [59:39]

American Creed: Act 1 Scene 1 – Ballyhoo! (Song) [7:14]
American Creed: Act 1 Scene 2 – Gifts of the God of Nature (Song) [8:44]
American Creed: Act 1 Scene 3 – The Jamestown Entitled (Song) [6:51]
American Creed: Act 1 Scene 4 – Pilgrims arrive seeking Liberty! (Song) [7:52]
American Creed: Act 1 Scene 5 – Thanksgiving (Song) [8:21]
American Creed: Act 1 Scene 6 – Psalm 100 (Song) [7:18]
American Creed: Act 1 Scene 7 – On Canaan’s Happy Shore (Song) [2:22]
American Creed: Act 1 Scene 8 – Rule Britannia (Song) and Revolution [10:54]

Intermission

ACT 2 – Total run time [45:50]

American Creed: Act 2 Scene 1 – Driving West and Battle Hymn of the Republic (Song) [10:01]
American Creed: Act 2 Scene 2 – Mother’s Day (Song) [5:34]
American Creed: Act 2 Scene 3 – Wild West Show [5:13]
American Creed: Act 2 Scene 4 – The One Percent, Entitled Reprise (Song) [4:46]
American Creed: Act 2 Scene 5 – Americanitis (Song) [4:49]
American Creed: Act 2 Scene 6 – The Statue of Liberty [2:20]
American Creed: Act 2 Scene 7 – Pass the Torch (Song) [8:00]
American Creed: Act 2 Scene 8 – Ballyhoo! Reprise (Song) [5:04]

If your neighbor’s not free, neither are you. You just don’t know it yet.

Additional music by:
Native American Rain Dance Drums
Psalm 100, anonymous, from the Ainsworth Psalter, 1612
Rule Britannia, music by Thomas Arne, lyrics by James Thomson, performed by the United States Army Strings
Yankee Doodle Dandy, folk tune
On Canaan’s Happy Shore, folk hymn, performed by Saint Cecilia and the Melody Makers
Battle Hymn of the Republic, folk hymn, lyrics by Julia Ward Howe, performed by the London Philharmonic Choir
All other music, lyrics, and book by Joanne K. Helfrich & Paul M. Helfrich ©2020 All Rights Reserved

Bonus track: Rhapsody on the God of Nature for Choir and Orchestra [5:41]

This piece was composed for the Westside Waldorf Middle School Orchestra and Choir during July-August 2019. It was intended to be premiered in April 2020 during our annual Music Takes Flight! concert. We were in the midst of rehearsals when our school shut down on March 13th due to the coronavirus pandemic. Rhapsody is a celebration of the God of Nature, a song from Act 1 of American Creed. (This rehearsal track was created using MuseScore 3.)


What’s New?

I am currently on a sabbatical year for study and travel at the Westside Waldorf School in Pacific Palisades, CA for the 2020-2021 academic year.

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